Church Planting Movements essay

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The book, Church Planting Movements, vividly portrays current changes and new directions in religious sphere around the world. Emphasis on the revelation of God in history affirms the importance of the processes of historical transmission. Mankind does not conceive an idea simultaneously. Even religions such as the Hindu, which stress God's immediate presence in every man, depend on an historical tradition to transmit the beliefs from one generation to another. The association of holy men around a teacher, the time-honored role of the ascetic, the paths and ways and noble truths memorized and recited--what are these if not unconscious acknowledgments in the face of conscious denials of the importance of history? On what basis then does a person decide to whom he will turn for guidance? Is he to have a choice, or must national tradition be regarded as the final arbiter of truth, or social position, or total numbers of believers? There may have been missionaries who insisted that their position alone was right and all others wrong, but Christianity has made its appeal to men's freedom to decide the God Whom they should serve, and it has recognized that one must know alternatives to decide intelligently. The relation of the Church to the non-Christian is of primary concern to the Christian. The book proves that because of his understanding of his relation to the Christian community, the Christian is personally involved with the existence of non-Christian fellows. And this concern is beyond any recognition of his moral superiority or inferiority to the other person. One simply cannot be a member of the Church which Christ established and think in terms of only himself. To be one of God's people is to be assigned a role in the on-going purpose of God that the Bible says was declared to Abraham and made clear in Christ, a purpose including every generation of men. In this sense, the Church exists not for its own sake but for the world. Men learn of God and respond to Him in the context of their whole lives as personal, social beings because of the activity of the Christian community.

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